It was hard rock madness this past Saturday night at Chicago City Limits where Ion Vein led the charge in celebrating Halloween with a high energy set of loud, abrasive, in-your-face metal.
Headlining the Schaumburg club’s Halloween Bash, Ion Vein had very solid support in Sacred Dawn and Slick. Having never seen Ion Vein live before I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond the fact that I already knew their recorded material held its weight in the metal realm thanks to its well-crafted tracks full of angry guitar riffs and fusion of talented musicianship. I was already hooked on a couple of the band’s songs, which I became familiar with on their myspace site, and was wondering how they would be translated to the stage. Let’s just say that after watching the band perform live, I was even more impressed. As hoped, Ion Vein displayed a commanding presence filled with incredible liveliness and raw power.
Allen James, who has only been singing for the band over the past ten months, is the quintessential hard rock frontman. James projected an intense ferocity that never let up from the moment he jumped onto the stage during the band’s opening hard-hitting number, “Anger Inside” to “Fool’s Paradise”, their finale outro 70 minutes later. Not only did James look and act the part, but his powerful voice proved he was the real deal. James’ has his own voice, which is refreshing. By that I mean, he is identifiable and does not fall into the mold of so many metal singers that are almost interchangeable. Plenty of singers have good voices and stage presence, but it’s James’ uniquely recognizable flavor that will put him ahead of many others in the industry.
During their live performance, Ion Vein also relied on Chris Lotesto’s crunching guitar sound, Chuck White’s precise drumming and bassist, Brian Gordon’s maniacal thumping. Ion Vein is truly a team effort in which all the pieces come together perfectly to form a true progressive metal experience. The band’s live set is full of dynamics, skilled play, lofty oomph and is also quite visual. While songs like “Love/Hate” and “Face the Truth” grabbed the already Ion Vein faithful, many who had never seen the band before were also noticeably participating in the metal mayhem, raising fists and thrashing their heads about in strong approval.
The band also got big cheers for their heavily amped version of the Beatles’ “Come Together”. James' originality with the song’s vocal line was just more evidence of the band’s maturity and exhibits the comfort zone their in while playing live.
Watching Ion Vein perform is highly recommended whether you are a metalhead or just like solid rock music. The band is currently working on their follow up to their last album, “Reigning Memories” and expects an early 2009 release. For more information on Ion Vein as far as band news and show dates, go to www.IonVein.com.
You can also check out an interview with the band at www.BuzzNews.TV as of November 7th.